tv NBC Nightly News NBC September 22, 2011 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
on the broadcast tonight, hitting home. a stunning new portrait is out tonight of the american family as the markets take another big dive. final hours. the dramatic end to one of the most controversial executions of the modern era and the role of the death penalty in american life. facelift. a lot of americans woke up to something new this week. tonight, why t uproar over the changes. and making a difference. inspired by one boy's request that we remember his dad's
heroism, tonight the world puts its arms around the children who have lost so much. its arms around the children who have lost so much. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. tonight, a big story is emerging that's been developing for a good long time. record numbers of young adults in america are in the struggle of their lives to find work, a place to live on their own along with the far-off notion of what used to be called settling down. these numbers are just out now from the new census and they paint a grim picture of perhaps the worst generational struggle in decades. as one writer put it today, the new numbers show, quote, missed opportunities and dim prospects for an entire generation in our country. at the crux of so much of it is finding a job and a living wage. it's where we begin tonight with
nbc's janet shamlian. >> reporter: the crane family of florida is in trouble. a state many young adults are finding themselves in, in a rough and tumble economy. she's got a bachelor's degree in education. he's got a master's and yet they are both underemployed. when they lost an income, they also lost their home. >> we're stuck. we lost our home. we're here with my parents. we can't afford rent. >> you'll have to bring them back. >> reporter: something they never anticipated in their 30s and not the future they dreamed of when they married. their situation is not unique. almost 6 million americans ages 25 to 34 are now living with their parents. that's up 25% since before the recession. new census figures show young people are the biggest losers of the economic recession. in skyrocketing numbers, young adults are struggling to find work. the worst rate of unemployment since world war ii. of those age 16 to 29, only 55%
have jobs, down from 67% a decade ago. despite the fact today's grads are trained for a tech-centered world. >> they are computer literate and ready to go. if we can't harness their abilities into our labor force very soon we are going to pay the price big time. >> reporter: there are already ripples on the american way of life. young adults are buying fewer homes and more are having children without marrying. and those who do marry are delaying their walk down the aisle. the median age for brides and grooms has inched up more than a year since 2006. that's what janet and joe did, delaying marriage until their late 20s. yet they are still struggling. >> i want an end date. i'm a woman. you know, i need to know when it's going to end. that gives me hope. there is no end date. >> reporter: young americans navigating a path of tough times as recession changes their way of life. janet shamlian, nbc news, orlando. adding to the grim economic backdrop, a bad day on the
markets. downright scary for a time this afternoon. the dow plunged 391 points. that wasn't the worst of it. nasdaq lost more than 82. s&p 500 was down more than 37 points. by the way, today's drop put the blue chip stocks on track for the third worst weekly point loss in history. our friend sue hererra is with us from cnbc global head quarters. here's what's scary. i heard the theory today that it's all really interrelated. the crux of the problem, people borrowed too much money, individuals, companies, countries and nobody can pay it back. thus, here we are. >> indeed. that's what's wrong with the market and with the global economy. for a while the u.s. was insulated to a certain extent from that. but nowchina's economy is slowing down. europe still has its debt crisis and here at home, the economy simply has not been growing. yesterday the federal reserve, in a statement after they decided to keep interest rates
low, said that there were significant down side risks to the u.s. economy. that's what really spooked wall street. that was a very strong statement from the federal reserve and i think, once again, it has put on the table the prospect of a double dip into recession. so investors really voted with their wallets today and they voted to keep their wallets close to their chest and they sold everything. there is an adage on wall street. if you can't sell what you want, you sell what you can. that's exactly what they were doing today, brian. >> they were doing something like that. sue hererra from cnbc global head quarters this evening. thanks. president obama says u.s. workers can get back to work by rebuilding all the roads and bridges and rail lines and airports that are crumbling in this country and need fixing. today he chose to highlight a bridge between two important states and found himself in some troubled waters politically. nbc's kristen welker is traveling with the president.
cincinnati, kristen. good evening. >> reporter: good evening to you, brian. president obama talked policy but it was really politics as he used this bridge behind me to draw battle lines with his top republican adversaries in congress. [ cheers and applause ] >> reporter: president obama came to cincinnati today to tout his jobs plan in front of this aging bridge which links the home states of republican congressional leaders john boehner and mitch mcconnell, playfully engaging his partisan audience. >> now, that's just a coincidence. [ laughter ] >> purely accidental that that happened. >> reporter: mr. obama tried to paint himself as a jobs creator while blaming republicans for standing in the way. >> part of the reason i came here is because mr. boehner and mr. mcconnell, those are the two most powerful republicans in government. they can either kill this jobs bill or they can help pass this jobs bill. >> reporter: but republicans
were quick to accuse the president of a political stunt saying there is no guarantee the stimulus plan will immediately affect this bridge which may not be shovel-ready until 2015. >> we have heard these promises before and i don't think the president should expect anybody to fall for them again. >> now is not the time for the president to go into campaign mode. >> reporter: despite white house claims that the president was here today to argue that investing in infrastructure would expedite an economic recovery, the event had all the trappings of a campaign stop. >> you want to cut taxes for middle class families, pass this bill. if you want to help small businesses, what do you do? >> pass this bill! >> reporter: analysts say the president faces an uphill battle to win back frustrated swing voters in battleground states like ohio. >> he can't lose the rust belt, the manufacturing area and win re-election. this is a critical piece and it's where he has to make the economic sell. >> reporter: now, ohio is one of
nine battleground states that president obama won in 2008. but former president george bush won in 2004 so it is likely that president obama will be making many more trips here over the next 14 months. >> kristen welker traveling with the president in the politically crucial state of ohio. a scene at the u.n. in new york. while the president of iran was giving his speech to the general assembly, a walkout took place. dozens of delegates, as you see there, led by the u.s., they gathered their stuff and with some drama they walked out. the reason why? his speech called the u.s. slave masters and colonial masters. then he went after the rest of the allies. then he talked about the, quote, mysterious september 11th incident. for him it was more or less the usual stuff, but it was too much for some of the delegates. there is news tonight about two recent attacks in afghanistan. the one on the american embassy
last week that killed 16 people and a recent truck bomb that wounded 77 american soldiers. today, chairman of the joint chiefs mike mullen told congress he believes pakistan's own spy agency, the isi helped the insurgents behind both of these attacks. u.s. military officials are telling nbc news the isi is, quote, actively involved in helping militants launch similar attacks. now to the story back in this country that began this broadcast last night -- the execution of a georgia man that touched off controversy around the world and raised the question that still hasn't been answered, may never be answered. did an innocent man die late last night for a murder he never committed? nbc's savannah guthrie who, as a lawyer, has covered her share of crime and punishment controversy is with us tonight. good evening. >> good evening. this was a terrible crime. a police officer who came to the aid of a homeless man being beaten by a group of men was shot dead on the street but the
troy davis case is gathering worldwide headlines tonight because of persistent questions about whether he really was the man who pulled the trigger. to his last breath, troy davis, convicted of killing an off-duty police officer in 1989, maintained his innocence. >> he said, i want to say something to the mcphail family. i did not take your son, father, brother. [ chanting ] >> reporter: many believe he was innocent. for four hours after his scheduled execution, thousands of people all over the world held their breath during final appeals. there was lingering doubt, even from world leaders. no dna linked davis to the crime and seven of nine eyewitnesses recanted their testimony. but shortly after 10:00 p.m. the u.s. supreme court denied davis's appeal and at 11:08 he was pronounced dead. today, a renewed debate over the death penalty. president jimmy carter released a statement saying we hope this
tragedy will spur us as a nation toward the total rejection of capital punishment. 34 states have the death penalty. this year, 35 people have been executed in the u.s. texas leads the way with 11 executions. >> your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times. [ applause ] >> have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent? >> no, sir. i have never struggled with that at all. >> what do you make of the dynamic that just happened here -- the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause. >> i think americans understand justice. >> reporter: last night texas put to death a white supremacist gang member for the dragging death of an african-american man. there were no 11th hour attempts to save his life. last fall, a gallup poll found 64% of americans favor the death penalty but that support has
been dropping since 1994. opponents point out that dna tests and other evidence have overturned too many cases. in almost 40 years more than 130 people on death row have been released with evidence of their innocence. >> we simply should not have a system where we execute people where there is serious and substantial doubt based on objective physical evidence, based on everything we know about the difficultiydifficulty eyewitness identification. >> reporter: bottom line most americans believe the death penalty constitutes justice. there is one more note on the davis case. you cannot say this man did not get a day in court. nearly two decades of appeal and, in fact, the u.s. supreme court took the rare step of granting him a hearing on the new evidence but the lower court judge who ultimately heard the changed testimony of the eyewitnesses ultimately decided to stand by the death sentence in this case and so did the georgia parole board who looked at it for a year, examined the
evidence, heard from witnesses and ultimately decided to continue with the death sentence, brian. >> it's a lot and it does bear repeating. yo you're right. from the president through opinion polls that aren't what they were a decade or two ago we are a majority death penalty nation. >> right and there have been changes. we see fewer death sentences handed out every year. i think jurors have a higher standard now. they want to see more in the way of scientific evidence. they want more certainty when it comes to the death penalty cases. just looking at the evidence in this case closely, i wonder whether a jury today would have convicted and sentenced to death on this same evidence. i think our country is changing but the bottom line is it's still a majority death penalty favoring nation. >> always a pleasure to have you. thanks for your reporting tonight. savannah guthrie. still ahead on our broadcast this evening, what a lot of americans woke up to this week that's changing their world and a lot of folks didn't like what
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snazzier pictures, but many think the new way is too complicated. >> keep it simple, stupid! >> reporter: youtube was full of negative comments. >> facebook is like that girl you fell in love with. love it so much, but you keep changing! >> why do they try to fix something that's not broken? >> reporter: a student of the university of colorado denver. >> they have gone from looking at information and enjoying it to hurling it at you. >> reporter: from the aarp convention in los angeles. >> i'm overwhelmed. i have not yet done the apps for the changes. >> reporter: social media experts point out beyond cosmetics there is something more profound going on that as facebook users share music, movies and their lives, facebook according to dr. karen north of the usc school will be gathering valuable information. >> they can get so much information and so much data on each and every individual that they will be able to sell very targeted advertising. >> reporter: in an exclusive
interview zuckerberg said facebook will respond to the complaints. >> we always listen to the feedback. we have already made a few tweaks to the product that we rolled out yesterday and this morning. >> reporter: while we heard plenty of negative comments about facebook -- >> i can't keep loving you! >> reporter: we did not hear many people say they are going to unfriend the site. >> it was our choice to be on the website in the first place. >> reporter: zuckerberg talks about facebook being a home for its users, many of whom wish he'd stop rearranging the furniture. george lewis, nbc news, los angeles. >> meg whitman is back in the game after running e bay and failing in a political bid she'll run hp as the new executive director. the last ceo was there less than a year. hp struggled with poor earnings but the strategy to get out of the personal computer business is expected to remain in place under whitman. when we come back here tonight, don't forget about that satellite hurtling toward earth for an arrival tomorrow.
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you may want to keep the helmets on and chin straps fastened. as we get closer to friday we continue to track the remains of the dead satellite falling to earth. it's still falling. reentry is expected to be somewhere friday afternoon though it's too early to predict the time or location. they now believe it will come down in as many as 26 separate pieces, so there is that to look forward to. we do have these pictures from our website tonight. they show the satellite beginning reentry. they were shot by astronomers. so far looks like a white blob against a black sky. we'll see it real well before long. the president of france today checked to see if a gift they sent us arrived okay. it's the 125th anniversary of the statue of liberty, a gift to the united states from france. president nicolas sarkozy is here for the big u.n. gathering.
new york mayor michael bloomberg played host though we all know lady liberty carries a torch for jersey. and we learned more about ourselves today as part of the new census numbers about who we are, what's become part of our lives. they are telling fascinating stories like the average american commute. now a little over 25 minutes. the good people of maryland have the worst average commute in the country, over a half hour each. for the quickest ride to work you have to work in the dakotas. north and south share the best commute honors, just over 16 minutes. a 10-year-old's plea that his father not be forgotten inspires a world of kindness. it's our "making a difference" report tonight. [ junior ] i played professional basketball for 12 years.
today i own 165 wendy's restaurants. and i get my financing from ge capital. but i also get stuff that goes way beyond banking. we not only lend people money, we help them save it. [ junior ] ge engineers found ways to cut my energy use. [ cheryl ] more efficient lighting helps junior stay open later...
when that american chinook helicopter was shot down in afghanistan last month that killed 30 americans and left a lot of american kids back home without a father. one of those kids got everybody's attention, reminding us all to focus on each individual loss that day. and when another family saw that boy's request to remember his own dad, they decided to do something about it. tonight, they are making a difference. nbc's anne thompson has their
story. >> reporter: to dan blackman, quit is a four-letter word. banned in his house, off limits to his kids. this army major's world, there is no giving up. >> 19, 20! [ applause ] >> reporter: especially today. each lift and pull in a series of extreme workouts raises money for a very special boy's college fund. >> braden's story hit me hard. >> reporter: 10-year-old braden nichols' father brian was one of 30 service members killed in that attack in afghanistan. the navy seals who died got all the attention until braydon sent this to the media. i have seen other pictures of victims from this deadly mission and wish you would include a picture of my father. he is the farthest to the left. in braydon's photos dan and lisa saw their family. >> we went to football games when i was at west point and we'd dress alike.
looked at that and thought, that's what every boy does with their dad. >> reporter: scott and bretta sagarino saw a purpose. >> sometimes there is nothing you can do but feel it. in some cases you can feel it and do something about it. >> reporter: dedicating their fund-raising event to fund scholarships for braydon and other children whose parents died in the attack. >> they left behind 31 children. the 32nd child is yet to be born. when that child is born that child will also be covered. >> reporter: across 16 countries from south korea to afghanistan to the u.s., 16,000 people sweated to raise $2.2 million, money that comes with a promise. >> i think it's important to just every day remember somebody was there, somebody did it. they paid the ultimate sacrifice for it. >> reporter: a sacrifice, dan says, you must never quit remembering.